One suspects C. P. Scott would be annoyed with the sub editor who wrote this headline:

Liberal Democrats to fight next election as totally independent party

What's next from the supposed bastion of liberal journalism? Pope confirms Catholicism? Bear faeces found in woodland? Hazel Blears is short?

Note to journalists: In Australia, the Coalition parties have maintained separate identities and run independently despite governing together for the best part of the last century. In the UK, the last Liberal National / Conservative coalition effectively started in 1931, they agreed an electoral pact in 1947, and the Nationals eventually gave up and formally merged into the Conservatives in 1968. That was 37 years, not 6 months.

So in the incredibly unlikely event that history tries to repeat itself, it'll take 3 decades of perpetual coalition. I don't think that's at all likely myself.

Ye gods, they call themselves a quality newspaper?
Chortle reports that Vegas is suing[2] over the allegations made by the Guardian[1] and hinted at in The Times. The original story sparked a (justifiable) series of complaints and posts, including boycott and letter writing as well as a good explanation from Jennie about why the audience and alleged victim may have kept quiet.

Vegas himself has not commented fully but has said I haven't done anything wrong (ETA: since I wrote this, the Press Gazette has covered the story and has comments from Vegas[3]). Given the nature of the UK libel laws this makes sense—his lawyers will've told him to stay quiet and not mention specifics, and they'll likely push for an out of court settlement. If it does go to court, unfortunately, the odds are in his favour to win the case. English libel law notoriously favours the plaintiff and all he he needs to demonstrate is that his reputation was hurt (uncontestable); the Guardian'll need to, they need to demonstrate that their version of events is a reasonable interpretation (and he'll only need a few audience witnesses to say otherwise unfortunately). Teh Graun pretty much needs the girl herself to come forward else they've lost. Have I mentioned English libel law is an arse? I think I might've.

Of course, he does have a few witnesses on his side already, this commenter at the Evening Standard Comedy Blog for example:
I too was at the show on Friday and from my vantage point in the second row, I can honestly say that the female audience member in question appeared to thoroughly enjoy the experience. Coming off stage she looked as if she had just won the lottery.
and as Chortle observes:
Did his ‘victim’ feel uncomfortable, too? Undoubtedly. I certainly did. Did she feel abused? Only she can tell. It’s the million dollar question that Vegas’s reputation rests upon. Or maybe the damage has already been done.
We'll be watching this one closely I suspect. Tim? I'll be in touch mate.

[1] Guardian has removed the story as a result of the action, it was here.

[2] A few of the articles I link to have now been removed or locked down by the sites that published them due to liability concerns—no one wants to get sued for libel. Worth reiterating to commenters that under the T&Cs of Livejournal, each individual is responsible for their own comments—this is a public post and Schillings have a rep for searching blogs (see tag).

[3] From Tim at Bloggerheads in his post linking here. A note for non-LJ commenters )
Congrats to [livejournal.com profile] paulatpingu for getting quoted and all. Can't find it online, but page 2, quote from his article and a link. "Citizen journalism" they call it. Yay!
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

British Liberal, house husband, school play leader and stepdad. Campaigner, atheistic feminist, amateur baker. Male.

Known to post items of interest on occasions. More likely to link to interesting stuff. Sometimes talks about stuff he's done. Occasionally posts recipes for good food. Planning to get married, at some point. Enjoying life in Yorkshire.

Likes comments. Especially likes links. Loves to know where people came from and what they were looking for. Mostly posts everything publicly. Sometimes doesn't. Hi.

Mat Bowles

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I'm the Chair of the Brighouse branch of the Liberal Democrats & the membership secretary for Calderdale Lib Dems and run the web campaign for the local candidates. I have a job, a stepdaughter and a life.

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